PORT ELIZABETH – South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said after a 23-12 Rugby Championship win over Australia Saturday that his team must be more clinical when they tackle world champions New Zealand.
The Springboks triumphed in Port Elizabeth by scoring two tries to lead 20-12 at half-time, then give an impressive second-half defensive performance in the fifth-round Test.
Erasmus said if the Springboks attacked as they did in Wellington this month to pull off a stunning 36-34 triumph, they would do well against the All Blacks in Pretoria next Saturday.
“If we attack like we did in Wellington, where we scored five tries, it will be fantastic. But I think it won't be that easy,” warned Erasmus. “I really think the guys showed character tonight and created more chances than we did against the All Blacks.
“I thought if we scored from one or two more of them it would have been a different story, but there are things we have to improve on. If we leave as many opportunities out there next week, it will be a tough game to win.”
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Erasmus said while the win over Australia was not pretty, the team did well to succeed under the circumstances.
“I think in the past couple of months we made changes and lost matches.
“We made eight changes - either positional or through injury or through new caps coming in - after beating New Zealand.
“The positive is that we are starting to win games even though we are making changes. And we are playing well tactically - the second-half guts the boys showed was great.
“And the last positive was that, even if we didn't score a lot of tries, we created a lot of opportunities and if we converted them we would have given Australia a good hiding. But it was a close game because they played territory in the second half.
“The moment we start talking about leaving points out there, we are taking the wrong route because we must first of all be happy about the win.
“But we did leave a lot of points out there, which we will work on and convert into action and scores. At least opportunities were created, which I felt we struggled to do earlier in the year.”
The Championship concludes next Saturday with South Africa facing New Zealand in Pretoria and Argentina hosting Australia in Salta.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)